Aug. 23, 2012 at 11:37 AM ET
Has "The Simpsons" fandom run its course, or did the U.S. Postal Service simply dream too big?
The post office produced 1 billion "Simpsons" themed 44-cent stamps in 2009, but only 318 million were sold, the New York Times reports.
That leaves 682 million stamps that are now unlikely to sell since they now need a one-cent extra stamp for first-class postage. The post office raised its rates to 45 cents for a first-class letter in January.
The Times reports that if the stamps are destroyed, as commemorative stamps that don't sell often are, it would amount to a waste of $1.2 million in printing costs.
The post office has produced Forever stamps since 2007. Such stamps are always valid for the first-class postage rate despite any rate increases since they were issued. The "Simpsons" stamps, however, weren't Forever stamps and have a printed rate of 44 cents.
The post office and "The Simpsons" don't have an easy relationship anyway. In one episode, even mild-mannered Ned Flanders goes on a rant against them -- although not for the reasons you might think. "I don't like the service at the post office," he complains. "You know, it's all 'rush rush! Get'cha in, get'cha out! Then they've got those machines in the lobby, they're even faster, no help there. You might even say, I hate the post office. That, and my parents. Lousy beatniks."
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